example I have 100 folders each with JPG and MOV files in them I want to copy all the jpg into one folder and all the mov files into another


  • folder1 has one.jpg and two.jpg and one.mov

  • folder2 has two2.jpg and two2.mov

  • folder3 has xxx.jpg and yyy.mov

wanted result

  • folder jpgfiles containing one.jpg two.jpg two2.jpg xxx.jpg

  • folder movfiles containing one.mov two2.mov yyy.mov

  • Are the 100 files are direct subdirs of one parent? (in this case cp */*.jpg jpgfiles/ ; cp */*.mov movfiles/ )
    – JJoao
    Apr 14, 2015 at 16:08
  • 1
    This worked a treat i used the -p flag to preserve the creation date of the pictures so I can get them in the correct order for video processing later using cinelerra
    – phil smart
    Apr 15, 2015 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


You can use find for this. You use the folder above the folder1, folder 2 etc and execute these commands there.

find /folder/ -type f -name "*.jpg" -exec cp {} "jpgfiles/" +
find /folder/ -type f -name "*.mov" -exec cp {} "movfiles/" +

/folder/ is the parent folder here. you need to modify it to your parent folder.

EDIT: Thanks to @godlygeek for pointing it out. If you'd like to copy only unique files, you can use the below

find /folder/ -type f -name "*.jpg" -exec bash -c 'test ! -f jpgfiles/${0##*/} && { cp $0 jpgfiles/${0##*/}; }' {} +
find /folder/ -type f -name "*.mov" -exec bash -c 'test ! -f movfiles/${0##*/} && { cp $0 movfiles/${0##*/}; }' {} +

To copy the conflicting files with a unique file suffix:

find /folder/ -type f -name "*.jpg" -exec bash -c 'test -f jpgfiles/${0##*/} && { cp $0 jpgfiles/${0##*/}.$RANDOM; }' {} +
find /folder/ -type f -name "*.mov" -exec bash -c 'test -f movfiles/${0##*/} && { cp $0 movfiles/${0##*/}.$RANDOM; }' {} +
  • You should use + instead of \;, and leave out the double quotes around {}, find handles spaces etc in file names, it doesn't create a shell instance when it invokes mv that might need the double quotes
    – Anthon
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:21
  • @Anthon thanks. I`ve updated the answer.
    – rahul
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:31
  • 1
    I'd argue that you should quote {} - it's necessary in some shells (like zsh) and harmless in all others. Also, it's worth noting that if there's a "foo.jpg" in two different subdirectories, only one of them is going to wind up in "jpgfiles" (obvious in retrospect, but probably worth noting explicitly - some files may be missing from "jpgfiles" afterwards).
    – godlygeek
    Apr 14, 2015 at 15:41
  • thanks Guys for the rapid answer went with the cp solution as its easier for a newcomer!!
    – phil smart
    Apr 15, 2015 at 18:46

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